Peep the menus: here (PDF)
From a press release:
“Le Mont Royal, a “French-Canadian disco”, is swinging into the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C. at 1815 Adams Mill Rd NW on Friday, January 6th. Chas Jefferson and Bart Hutchins, D.C. hospitality industry friends who bonded over their favorite spots in Montreal and Paris, are the duo behind the concept. Le Mont Royal cranks up the conviviality and maximalism they found themselves craving in a post-COVID world to deliver a natural wine and neo-bistro food-fueled party. Nights at Le Mont Royal will be set to the soundtrack of DJs spinning their house collection of soul, funk, and disco vinyls. Le Mont Royal will be open from 4 PM to midnight on Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday (closed Tuesday) and 4 PM to 2 AM on Friday and Saturday.
Jefferson, whose resume includes time as head distiller at Cotton & Reed and wine director at Jug & Table, puts the focus on vibrant natural wines and grower champagnes for Le Mont Royal. “I’m down to sit around the table and pontificate over a super complex glass of wine, but when I think about what I want to drink when I’m out with friends having a good time and listening to music, it’s fruit-forward wines that drink like juice”, says Jefferson. The wine list features 54 wines sourced from small producers in the US, France, Canada, and beyond, presented on a deck of cards with each suit corresponding to a different category (red, white, sparkling, and skin contact/rosé).
The centerpiece of the cocktail program is three cocktails on draft: the Mule D’Or, a mule made with saffron-infused vodka, Chinola passion fruit liqueur, lime, and ginger; the of-the-moment Negroni Sbagliato; and the Polar Espress, an espresso martini featuring vodka, amarovero, cold brew, maple syrup, and egg white, which is poured from a custom draft line that introduces nitrogen to achieve maximum froth. The remainder of the cocktail list includes creations that are “basically cocktails I would want to drink if I was at the ultimate cocktail party”, according to Jefferson. Offerings include the Québécois Old Fashioned with Canadian rye, maple simple syrup, and black cherry and orange bitters; the Super Sexe made with beet-infused tequila, xila, lime, and aji sage salt; and the Rickey Royal, Le Mont’s take on a classic Rickey using gin, lemon, kumquat, Halifax birch syrup, and Topo Chico. All of the cocktails were intentionally designed to be delivered quickly, so bartenders can focus on personal interactions with guests rather than meticulously making drinks. “Even with things being over-the-top, I want people to feel like this is their neighborhood spot, so bartenders will be catching up with regulars and even introducing them to other guests who hopefully become their new friends”, adds Jefferson.
Bart Hutchins, former chef de cuisine at Capitol Hill’s Beuchert’s Saloon, pulled from French-Canadian history as the main inspiration for Le Mont Royal’s food menu. “Many of the French people who went to Canada were very poor and became rich seemingly overnight thanks to the fur trade”, says Hutchins. “The menu showcases dishes with humble roots with additions of luxury”. Reflecting that idea is a twinkie filled with foie gras, and a classic French tartare made with venison accompanied by shrimp toast, his go-to order at Chinese carry-outs.
Knowing no French-Canadian restaurant would be complete without a poutine program, Hutchins is serving two varieties of poutine: one for meat-eaters made with “une sauce de deux oiseaux” (chicken and duck) and fresh cheese curds, as well as a vegetarian version featuring miso mushroom gravy and fresh cheese curds. Guests can go all out and add any or all of the following to their poutine order: foie gras, duck confit, black truffles, caviar, and chanterelles. Poutine is offered on the regular menu and is the main attraction on a late-night menu offered until midnight.
Other dishes on Hutchins’ menu are French bistro classics “put through an LSD filter”. A Halibut Quenelles and Lobster dish is an homage to the legendary D.C. French restaurant from which Mick Jagger was thrown out, Sans Souci. The duo of breakfast radish and butter, a dish that is a staple on French bistro menus, gets the umami factor kicked up a notch in Hutchins’ hands thanks to the use of anchovy butter.
Hutchins also presents cold seafood in several formats. Leading up to the opening of Le Mont Royal, he tasted over 100 varieties of oysters for their oyster program, which features rotating Canadian and American varieties served on the half-shell. Guests will also find fluke, razor clams, scallop ceviche, and Lobster Parisienne included in the seafood selection. In true Le Mont Royal fashion, there is an option to go over the top and order everything on the seafood menu presented as Le Plateau Royal.
Guests may order à la carte from the menu or opt for the Meal du Jour ($75), a four-course menu that will rotate daily and showcase hyper-seasonal ingredients that Hutchins can obtain in limited quantities. “When I’ve visited Paris, my friends who live there would take me to places that offered a menu du jour and it was my favorite way to eat there”, says Hutchins. “Guests can get a window into what I’m really excited about working with at that exact moment in time.”
A meal at Le Mont Royal ends on an appropriately decadent note with dessert options including the Foie Gras Twinkie and a Breton Butter Cake. Rounding out the sweet offerings is “Trois Eclairs Une Aventure Stupide”, a selection of three eclairs: a classic offering of chocolate and pastry cream, an eclair incorporating caramel, and a rotating seasonal creation from the crazy mind of Hutchins (the opening offering is an eclair filled with persimmon and covered in champagne dust).
The 4,000-square-foot bi-level space was designed by Mallory McDonagh of OK awesome in a style the team has lovingly dubbed “Canadian maximalism”. Upon entering, guests will be greeted by the white marble DJ Booth – built into the main bar seating 18 guests – where local DJs will spin vinyl records. The main floor boasts 40-plus disco balls, sourced from local “disco dealer” Libby Rasmussen, which reflect on the walls thanks to lighting whose colors can be changed to suit the vibe. Bright magenta floral wallpaper and gold accents deliver a pop to the space, which is lined with a combination of green velvet banquets and high-top tables.
Where the main floor delivers the disco, the upstairs space aims for a neighborhood bistro feel with “fur trapper vibes”. “In my mind, downstairs is where you might meet someone new, and upstairs is where you go to talk. Or you can head straight upstairs if you want a more low-key night with friends”, says Jefferson. On the second floor, guests will find another bar, bistro tables, a stuffed Wildebeest head named Wilbur hanging on the wall, and a purple felt pool table, all spread across two rooms accented with dark wood and warm lighting.
When the warm weather hits, Le Mont Royal will open its front patio seating approximately 40 guests.
Le Mont Royal will open with a limited food menu. The full menu as well as a happy hour (discounted oysters and $8 wines from 4-6:30 PM) will roll out in mid-January. No reservations are accepted.”
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